A personal note from founder, Rachel Benson.
My life has been transformed as I’ve learned to embrace my life as a growth journey of mastery, letting go of the achievement-based, perfectionistic mindset nurtured by my traditional school environment. To embrace failure instead of run from it; to focus on developing the internal habits and mindset that leads to extraordinary results- not the achievements themselves. Finding a learning environment that would nurture this innovative, entrepreneurial and purposeful mindset in my children became as important to me as the air I breathe.
Discovering Acton Academy was a powerful moment. Excitement, passion, and a hint of nervousness flooded me. I found what I was looking for. A school that nurtures this mindset, not just in lip-service, but in the design of every system and model it is built on. A rich learning environment for young Heroes to build a strong, internal foundation, allowing them to persevere and rise above the storms of life- finding their calling and living fully alive. My calling became clear; it is time to build this community in Omaha. As we all choose this Hero’s Journey, our young Heroes will discover that they, too, are capable of much more than they ever dreamed of. Watch out- as they embrace this mindset and journey for themselves, they most certainly WILL change the world!
Life is a beautiful tapestry full of joy and pain, that when woven together produce a rich, strong, grounded gem. This has been the story of my life.
As an educator right out of college, my passion was to notice the gifts in my students and draw these out of them. After teaching in a classroom for two years, life took many twists and turns that at one point left me feeling lost, fearful of relationships, completely broken, questioning where my passion had gone. And yet, in the midst of devastation- Hope was there. The tapestry was still being woven.
New opportunities to grow in my mindset as a business owner developed with my husband through Keller Williams Realty. We jumped in. I pressed into great fear, painfully learning new skills and a new way of thinking that slowly rebuilt my core; I came alive again to the joy of developing relationships. No longer was my identity based on how perfect my performance was. Instead, I began to view growth as a journey of mastery. My identity became deeply settled on the truth that I am Loved, which freed me to focus on who I choose to become- a person who presses into fear, embraces failure, and always gets back up when I fail; choosing the journey of mastery.
As part of my journey I've been a 4th and 6th grade Classroom Teacher, a Family Teacher (house parent) at Boys Town, an Executive Assistant for our Real Estate Business, Director of Growth for Keller Williams Realty Greater Omaha, and now Founder of Acton Academy Omaha. Most precious of all is being a mom to 3 beautifully active and passionate kids, and a wife and business partner to Chris, a dynamic leader who continues to sharpen me. I'm deeply grateful for the rich beauty that springs up from pain.
Jeff is an entrepreneur and a Socratic teacher. As an entrepreneur, he began by starting his first company at age 16 and most recently sold Sandefer Capital, an energy investment firm with several billion dollars in assets.
As a teacher, he cofounded the Acton School of Business, a school dedicated to America’s next generation of principled entrepreneurs and famous for its 100-hour work weeks. The Princeton Review has consistently ranked Acton’s teachers, students, and program among the best in the country. While at the University of Texas, Jeff’s students voted him the school’s Most Outstanding Teacher five times, and he was named by Businessweek as one of the top entrepreneurship professors in America. He also cofounded Acton Academy (Austin), where he is a middle school lead guide.
Jeff has been a longtime board member of National Review, the Texas Public Policy Foundation, The Philanthropy Roundtable, and the Harvard Business School and is one of the youngest members ever elected to the Texas Business Hall of Fame.
Laura is cofounder and head of school of Acton Academy (Austin). Raised by a science teacher and minister, Laura lived on both coasts and in between as a child and then landed at Vanderbilt University for her undergraduate studies in the College of Arts and Science.
After working in London and New York City in the aviation insurance business, Laura yearned to follow her heart into the world of teaching. She went back to Vanderbilt's renowned Peabody College and received her Master of Education. This led her to work in arts education at the Oklahoma Arts Institute. Laura later married Jeff Sandefer and has two sons and a stepdaughter. It is the inspiration of these children that led Laura and Jeff to cofound Acton Academy.
Her greatest hero is her beloved late mother, who was a master teacher as none other. Her wisest mentor is her father, who sent her off to college with two words of advice: "Be curious."
Our Learner Driven Communities are run mostly by our Eagles, where closely connected families of lifelong learners are bound by clear covenants; and “Learning to Do” and “Learning to Be” are even more important than “Learning to Know.”
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